First a little history, In Trek's early years, they sold only framesets. But after a couple years, they began to assemble and sell complete bikes. In 1982 they were stilling selling a few high-end models as both complete bikes and framesets. The reason for the dual model numbers was to distinguish the frameset from the complete bike. Frames were 720s and the complete bicycle were 728s - or maybe the other way around. No, I think that's right.
I remember seeing a 728 on the final day of RAGBRAI back in 1982. I was astonished by the length of the chainstays and the fact that it came equipped with center-pull brakes. At 47cm (18.5"), I'm not sure there has ever been longer chainstays on a production bicycle. And in 1982, center-pulls had definitely fallen out of favor. By the following year, many of the better production touring bicycles on the market came equipped with cantilevers brakes, including the 720. But there were several years in the late-70s and early 80s when some touring bikes came with side-pull brakes.
But for the inaugural year of this model, if you purchased a complete bicycle, it came with a set of beautifully finished Dia Compe center-pulls. The Gran Compe NGC450 is a gorgeous, high-quality brakeset that, unfortunately, hit the scene too late and missed the center-pull heyday.
Back to this particular bike. If you read my August post, you might remember that this Trek lost a fight with an oak tree, or a brick wall, or some such immovable object, The fork and headtube were bent. Fortunately, the Iowa City Bike Library is well endowed with frame repair tools! With a little patience and the right equipment, I was able to reincarnate this thing and give it a second chance.
There is a silver lining in cases like this. The "incident" happened early in its life and so it spent years hung on a hook in a climate controlled garage. It's barely been ridden. Consequently, the paint is is probably an 8.5 or 9 on the ten point scale. The decals and headbadge are all well preserved. There were a couple of flaws in the finish. There were chain-slap blemishes on the top of the right chainstay and if you peek underneath you will see scratches where a kickstand had once been clamped.
The frame is 24" center to top with a 22.5" top tube, center to center. It was built for 700c wheels. But one thing I know about this vintage touring bike is that clearance for fenders and big tires is not an option. So I decided to go with 650Bs and a more modern transmission - eight speed. (Contrary to most of the evidence, I do like some contemporary amenities!)
Not having cantilever brakes made the transition to 650Bs easy. I found a set of long-reach Weinmann center-pulls, cleaned them up, slapped on some vintage Mathauser pads and it was done. Now fatties fit fine. I had a set of Panaracer Nifty Swifties that are a true 34mm but it could handle a much wider tire. The Blumel Popular fenders are vintage and work well with the fatter tire.
I am looking for a rear Blackburn rack that fits with the bosses on this frame. This will not be easy to find. There are plenty of variables to work with so I'm not holding my breath. The front rack is a Blackburn and the one they show in the Trek brochure for this bicycle. Although the brochure says that the complete bike does not include the racks.
As built, the bike comes in just over 25 pounds and rides swell. Not sure what the future holds for this beauty, but I don't think I will keep it. It's too small for me and it should definitely be ridden and enjoyed.